Sally Collins: ‘No one expected forest fires to become so big a factor, so quickly’

Sally Collins: Given the number of issues facing forests in America today, like invasives, and climate change, and fire, we’re finding that we really need to refresh those plans much more often.

Sally Collins of the U.S. Forest Service talked about how plans to manage American forests sometimes have to change fast.

Sally Collins: I was a manager of one of those forests for a number of years. We just never anticipated that climate change would have the kind impact as fast, in terms of number of acres burning, number of acres affected by mountain pine beetle.

Collins managed the Deschutes National Forest in Oregon, a four million acre area.

Sally Collins: A big fire was 5,000 acres, and now you hardly blink if it’s less than 25,000 acres.

She said no one expected forest fires to become so big a factor, so quickly.

Sally Collins: We have much bigger fires, and this is just in 10 years, that we’ve seen this change. The science is really corroborating the fact that we have an issue that’s different from anything we’ve faced in the past. It’s more challenging because you’re constantly having to refresh how you look at your forests out there.

Our thanks today to the American Forest Foundation, leading the way in conservation and education.

Our thanks to:
Sally Collins
Associate Chief, U.S. Forest Service
Washington, D.C.

September 29, 2008

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